Carol Hodge may not be a name you’ve heard before, but she may be a face or a sound you recognise. Jobbing keyboardist with Ryan Hamilton And The Harlequin Ghosts, as well as appearing alongside The Membranes and the legend that is Ginger Wildheart, Ms Hodge is a songwriter and performer in her own right with one solo album already under her belt. Welcome to release two – Savage Purge.
Despite being a fan of a couple of her projects, I’ve yet to directly enjoy any of her output related to them by sheer (bad) chance. As a result, this was a fresh slate for me but I want to assure her that these first impressions were good! Savage Purge reminds me of pre-Ghosts Ryan Hamilton. Light rock, country-tinged, with a huge focus on the vocals and lyrics. While it’s definitely not metal and it’s only really partly rock, it is 100% quality and the songs herein take us in a great journey.
While generally a laid-back collection of tunes, there’s still plenty of drive in some of the rhythms and very much through the lyrics (which are very well sung). “Magic Bullet” and “Virtual Signals” are as close as we really get to rockers, the former being a great number. Downbeat but hopeful, talking about how there doesn’t quite seem to be a way to solve all of life’s problems while still searching for the eponymous magic bullet to prove the singer wrong. The latter feels somewhat more upbeat and rousing, but listen to the words – it’s not “I will”, it’s “well… I might”. An unusual lyrical take.
“Semi Colon”‘s title should be immediately familiar to many people, the punctuation mark being used commonly as a tattoo to demonstrate awareness of many mental health issues. A lilting, gentle, mildly angst-y track which lets Hodge’s voice take the lead with only the minimum of musical backing.
There’s a lot to unpack throughout Savage Purge and it’s enjoyable doing so. It’s been some time since an album has made me want to dig into the lyrics so much (although in fairness a lot of the stuff I’ve listened to recently is a bit more growly and hard to make the words out!).
Savage Purge is out on June 30th and you can pre-order now (be quick, half the vinyl versions are already gone!)